Purple May Be The New Power Food: Get To Know Anthocyanins
There’s a reason purple is popping up all over your produce section. And it’s not just because it’s pretty, though the color does add a nice punch to the plate. Purple fruits, vegetables, and grains are nutrient and antioxidant-rich with one advantage over other bright varieties: anthocyanins. These polyphenol flavonoids are responsible for the prominent pigment that provides protection from UV radiation and cellular mutation for the plants. There’s growing evidence that when we consume them, we may receive many of the same chemoprotective benefits.
Whole Foods predicts purple food will be a huge trend in 2017, but Native Americans, Europeans, and Chinese herbalists have been proponents of purple for centuries, using Anthocyanins as components of traditional medicines. Today, science is exploring the possible benefits of a purple diet for protection from cancers including melanoma, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular and neurological disorders.
Studies in mice have been promising, however, more research is needed to determine the true power of purple for humans. What’s known for sure is that getting plenty of anthocyanins in your diet has nothing but upside for healthy body and glowing skin.
Purple cauliflower, black rice, purple asparagus, purple carrots, elderberries, acai, blueberries, black raspberries, purple potatoes, eggplant, purple cauliflower, purple broccoli, purple onion, beets, plums, red lentils, red beans, are among some of the colorful and delicious sources of anthocyanins. The deeper the color, the higher the concentration.
Try Paleomg's recipe Creamy Beet Salad with Candied Walnuts. It's fun and easy to make!
Of note, black rice has up to six times the antioxidant content of white or brown alternatives. Purple carrots shaved into ribbons make a tasty and colorful addition to salads and stir-fries. Purple onion can be quickly pickled for a crunchy topping on tacos or sandwiches. Eggplant just begs to be breaded and sauced. Grill or sauté some plums and put them on steel cut oats. So many possibilities for purple. Time to broaden your palate and your palette.
*The humble eggplant is such a potent free radical scavenger that it is ranked among the top 10 vegetables (though, technically it's a fruit) in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity. Out of respect, we will heretofore refer to the anthocyanin-rich eggplant only by its more elegant French name aubergine.